The Most Frequent Causes of Hearing Loss

The Most Frequent Causes of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors; some of them avoidable, others outside our control.

Sensorineural hearing loss

This is the most frequent type of hearing loss. It occurs when there is damage to either the hair cells in the inner ear or to the auditory nerve. There is no medical treatment that can regenerate the affected cells, so this type of hearing loss is permanent.

These are the main causes of sensorineural hearing loss:

  • The effects of aging;
  • Exposure to very loud noises;
  • Genetics;
  • Ménière’s disease;
  • Taking ototoxic medications;
  • Head trauma;
  • Diabetes;
  • Auto-immune and infectious diseases;
  • Vestibular schwannoma

Conductive hearing loss

This type of hearing loss is associated with an obstruction in the outer or the middle ear, affecting the transmission of sound to the inner ear.

Medical treatment or interventions can generally re-establish sound propagation. Thus, conductive hearing loss is often temporary.

These are the main causes of conductive hearing loss:

  • Blockage from cerumen (ear wax);
  • Fluid in the middle ear;
  • Perforation of the eardrum;
  • Impaired function of the ossicles;
  • Malformation in the external or middle ear
  • Barotrauma (exposure to abnormal atmospheric pressure)
  • Head trauma

Mixed hearing loss

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.


If you have any questions about your hearing or that of a loved one, our hearing health professionals will be happy to answer them.

BY AMÉLIE DESMARAIS, Audiologist, Polyclinique de l’Oreille

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